WSU College of Medicine celebrates inaugural graduating class

RICHLAND, Wash — Members of the Washington State University Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine’s inaugural class spent Friday morning getting free donuts and coffee as an early graduation celebration.

The event was sponsored by Numerica Credit Union and WSU College of Medicine.

“Numerica is excited to partner with WSU’s College of Medicine to support and celebrate the future of healthcare in our community,” said Andy Stirling, senior vice president at Numerica. “We look forward to honoring the hard work, late nights, and personal sacrifices both students and current healthcare workers have committed to the Tri-Cities.”

Thirteen new physicians and frontline healthcare workers make up the first-ever graduating class.

Michaela Farron said finally getting to this point was “surreal.”

“It’s been a crazy four years and to have made it is shocking,” Farron said.

Another graduate, Emily Gray, agreed adding that the time flew by.

“I feel like you start very bright and bushy-tailed and you’re along for the ride and then partway through you realize you’re halfway there,” Gray said. “Then the end comes quickly.”

Both noted that the global pandemic only strengthened their passions for medicine.

“It was hard to see people that I admired and people that I aspired to be going through such stressful times,” Farron said. “But seeing the positive impact they had on their community, I was like that’s what I want to do like this is just confirming that this is the place for me.”

Associate Dean of Clinical Education Dr. Farion Williams said watching the growth over the past four years was “wonderful.”

“It’s pretty exciting to be a part of this journey of starting a brand new medical school,” Williams said. “Particularly with our inaugural class and to have seen their growth from day one and now they’re full-fledged physicians.”

Fifty-five doctors will graduate from the medical school in May, taking part in a virtual ceremony. Many will remain in the Tri-Cities to start their careers.

“I think something I’ve learned being a part of the inaugural class is if you dream it, you can do it,” Gray said.